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Featured Diving in Palau and Peleliu

Discussion in 'Nature' started by ArcticaMT6, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    I just returned from a SCUBA trip to Palau and Peleliu and wanted to share some images that I took. I used an E-M5mkII and either the Panasonic 7-14mm, Olympus 12-50mm, or Olympus 60mm macro for these photos.

    The first 5 days were spent diving based in Koror with Fish'n'fins. We would take speedboats out to the dive sites which could be 45min-1hr away. 3 dives per day meant that we were out virtually the whole day, and were exhausted when we returned. The last 4 days of diving were done on the island of Peleliu. This was much closer to the dive sites with the rides only being approximately 5-10 min away. It also had the benefit of being the only dive boat in the area for virtually all of the dives whereas the other sites earlier in the week were frequently done with a few other groups of divers in the water.

    All in all it was a great trip. I hope you enjoy the photos.

    Manta Ray
    38756667350_2d40276de1_h.

    Coral Reefscape, natural light
    39672128455_bf1b78fdf2_h.

    Leaf Scorpionfish
    39672086925_4f6f8a2a33_h.

    Lionfish on the wreck of the Iro.
    39856346394_337607746a_h.

    Blenny hiding in Coral on the wreck known as Half-a-day
    40566997081_e56c817f72_h.

    Clownfish in Anenome in Peleliu coral gardens
    39672030455_fa978d4419_h.

    Diving the Jake's Seaplane wreck
    25696396917_3caad9fb18_h.

    Clownfish Portrait
    40524290232_e5b42700b2_h.

    Mandarinfish. This guy took forever to get a shot of. I followed the same fish throughout the reef for 40 min to only end up with 3 or 4 useable images.
    40524325672_08bec901ab_h.

    Nudibranch. Roughly 2"/5cm long
    38756563000_8957a34da1_h.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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  2. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    Really nice pictures. You did a nice job lighting the reef scenes. I especially like the clown fish. I've just bought my first interchangeable lens housing, although there are still some bits and pieces missing (strobe arms, vaccuum system). Still need to wait for my first trip though.
     
  3. Great shots, amazing colors and patterns down there.
     
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  4. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Thanks. You don't necessarily need a vacuum system. Just nice peace of mind to have. I dove without one on my PM1 housing for a few years, and that camera still lives on with my dive buddy. Strobe arms are definitely a necessity though. I use a 12" and a 7" arm on each side, plus extra long clamps between the two. And trust me, there's always missing pieces. Next up on my list is a fisheye lens and mini-dome, then a supermacro diopter to increase the power of the 60mm since it isn't enough sometimes.

    I was apparently jetlagged yesterday and put in a different photo under the Anenomefish tag. Those were clownfish. The photo I meant to include was this one of Anenomefish

    40566953001_65c36b3165_h.

    It's certainly shooting on "easy mode" compared to back home. 5m/15ft vis is common at home. In Palau 30m/100' was the norm aside from some inside sites.
     
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  5. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    The leak sentinel vacuum system costs about 200€, which considering we are talking about UW-Photography gear is peanuts. I was able to witness the (luckily insured) leak of my parents GX80 in Subal housing. We still had the old LX7 with us, so the photography continued, but the quality difference is quite visible.
     
  6. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    245
    Dec 24, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Peleliu sounds great. We dove from the Aggressor live aboard years ago and I don't think we'd want to go that route again. Who did you dive with in Peleliu and would you recommend them?
     
  7. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Agreed. One of the main reasons I went with Nauticam was a vacuum bulkhead and leak detection system. Sorry about the flood. I've lucked out thus far with no floods. I did fry a flash this trip though that needs to be sent in for warranty.

    Pipe dream I want them to upgrade the E-M5mkIII but keep the same size and button layout of the II so I don't need a new housing. Not gonna happen, but I can wish. I know the Canon 5DIII & 5DIV can use the same housing, but needs a different back door for button layouts.

    Peleliu divers and stayed at Dolphin Bay Resort. There's no Nitrox in Peleliu, everything is on air. So you are constantly bouncing off your no-deco limits. Peleliu also only has about 600 people living there, so don't expect much in the way of amenities or anything like that. I liked the food better there as well. The resort was great, with the exception of the beds.

    What didn't you like about the Aggressor? I did the Aggressor boat out of the Galapagos in 2016, and plan on doing it again in 2020 or 2021.
     
  8. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    245
    Dec 24, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    We had some mechanical problems with the launch which curtailed our diving quite a bit. Obviously just bad luck, but the problem with a live aboard is if they have a problem there is nowhere else to go, you're stuck with it. As a result we decided we'd stick with land based whenever that is an option. I guess with the Galapagos land based really isn't an option.

    The other issue we had with the Aggressor was that there was a single launch for all 18 divers and they tried to keep us bunched up in a single group. I'd prefer smaller groups of divers.

    How was the guiding on Peleliu? How many divers per boat?

    Thanks,
    Dennis
     
  9. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    The guides on Peleliu were very hands-off. As in they stayed away from the walls and coral and just made sure no one had problems. There wasn't any sort of pointing out critters or anything that a lot of other guides do, which was disappointing, but it was still fine. We had 10 of us on the boat in Peleliu. For Palau I think we had 12 or so per boat. Personally, my favorite is diving solo, followed by my normal 1 or 2 buddies.

    Personally, it's dependent on the situation. In Palau, the liveaboards hit the same sites as the land based, just more frequently and at different times. So I personally wanted to save the money and do land based. Plus, we went with a group that we'd been on vacation with a few times before. For Galapagos, the only way to hit the sites that are worth going to is to do a Liveaboard.
     
  10. Kalifornier

    Kalifornier Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    California
    Fantastic pics!
     
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  11. wolfie

    wolfie Mu-43 All-Pro

    The clownfish shot is a great example of an environmental portrait :2thumbs:
     
  12. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Thanks. I typically shoot macro instead of wide angle, so I was out of my enivornment there. Some of what I thought were winners ended up being dull and lifeless when I got them on the computer after the dive. Part of the learning process.
     
  13. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    245
    Dec 24, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    So this has inspired us to look into going back to Palau. Our travel agent is suggesting a week in Koror diving with Sam's and a week at Dolphin Bay on Pelileu. Would you do this if you were doing it again? Any thoughts?
     
  14. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    245
    Dec 24, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Yeah, I stink at landscape/wide angle, both above and below the water. I can compose an image if I have a strong subject like a fish or a bear, but when I have a reef or something I'm at a loss.
     
  15. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    That's pretty much what we did. I'd do it again. I'd probably leave my 12-50mm at home though as I didn't care for the images from it overall. Dolphin Bay has uncomfortable beds, so just prepare yourself for that. Everything else about the resort was great.
     
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  16. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Great stuff!

    I dream of upgrading my humble rx100 underwater kit to something more substantial (ideally my Sony A7rIII with Nauticam wet lenses), but 1-2 weeks of diving per year and an investment of 5000 odd dollars makes it exceedingly poor value proposition.

    I think I'll stick with buying a second strobe first
     
  17. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    Look for used gear, especially in systems where you already own the relevant lenses. I paid less than 700€ for the Nauticam Em5 housing with two ports. I already own the lenses, and a used em5 cost me another 200€. Obviously these kind of deals are not frequent, but if you put an alert in on ebay, you will eventually get lucky. UW gear depreciates mindblowingly fast, even though there is no reason other than low demand. Classifieds on Wetpixel also have a lot of good stuff, but usually people are patient and price their items much higher. On ebay, you occasionally get someone who just wants to get rid of their gear with no fuss.
     
  18. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    A second strobe will probably make more of a difference than upgrading your system. Retra just came out with some super nice strobes that I wish I would have waited to get. One of my strobes is currently in for warranty repair/replacement. Again. Check used sites. I got my housing and camera body for less than the cost of just the housing new.

    Wetpixel has deals from time to time. There's someone on there selling some m4/3rds gear cheap right now. I'm grabbing the dome port for the fisheye from him. There's still an E-M5 and housing for it left at $700.

    Olympus OMD Nauticam Housing Lenses Ports Sea&Sea Strobes - Classifieds
     
  19. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    Those are some sweet prices. Btw, Inon has just released the Z330 which is supposedly also a fairly big upgrade from the Z240s. I have just received my second YS-02. Not as high end as those, but it should do the job.
     
  20. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    If I was buying new strobes starting from scratch now, I'd be deciding between the Z330 and the Retra. Haven't had good luck with my Sea & Sea D2's.

    The 02's should work fine for you. The bigger strobes are better when stuff is further away and you need all the power you can get. Other strobes that have battery packs instead of AA's are nicer where you get more dives out of them and faster recycle times. I could have used 2 more strobes on that first Manta shot as both of mine were cranked up as high as they would go. Had to get more ambient light in than I would have liked in that shot.
     
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